It’s Never Too Early To Plan For College


Renee Darling, Staff Writer

Photo by Sierra Watson

Clear Springs High School honored their seniors’ progress and accomplishments during their annual Senior Week, letting those in fall sports walk across the football field at the game on Friday. But while recognizing their successes, it really puts into perspective how quickly high school passes and college arrives, where the start of our own independent lives begin. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed approaching so many big decisions, but you can prepare as early as ninth grade.

Ninth Grade

Freshman year of high school can be a lot at once, and it’s overwhelming trying to find and understand your classes let alone plan for college. Rather than physical planning, just take classes and join clubs you find interesting. This is the year to dip your toes into everything and find things that spark a connection to you. If you believe you can handle it, take AP (Advanced Placement) and honors classes, and maintain good grades and conduct. Activities and classes can be inside and outside of school, and although there aren’t as many elective options as there will be further into high school, continue thinking about what you enjoy.

Tenth Grade

Begin thinking about majors that correspond to the hobbies you enjoy and look for colleges you’re interested in going to or that specialize in your major. Create a list of schools that stick out to you as a reference for later. Join honor societies such as National Honor Society (NHS) or those offered in your field of interest. Most honor societies require a certain number of service hours to apply, so volunteer where you can and look for opportunities to collect hours. You can also get a job over the summer to help raise money to pay for college.

Eleventh Grade

It’s now time to finalize your list of colleges and research them to find all of the application, scholarship and financial aid information. Start applying and scholarships. Talk to teachers you’d like letters of recommendation from as well as coaches or employers. You can also begin taking more AP classes junior year, to help get college credit.

Twelfth Grade

Choose the college you plan on attending and pay. Gather your letters of recommendation, begin writing your college essay and visit your college campus to scope out the environment. Over the summer create a list of things you’ll need each day such as a backpack, laptop, pencils and notebooks, but if you plan on staying in a dorm be sure to bring bedding, towels, a laundry bag, pillows and décor for your part of the room if you’d like. Find a way to contact your roommate and get to know each other if you have one. You can continue your job to keep raising money.

Enjoy your high school experience while it lasts but keep these responsibilities in the back of your mind while moving through. The seniors have been through a lot, and we wish them all the best for the rest of the year and forward!